Hi, everyone! My name is Abi, and I just recently became a part of the anxiety world. I suppose I've always been a pretty anxious person, worrying about silly things most of the time (like I was always afraid my mom was wrong that we had a 2-hour delay for school and we would show up late even though she was a teacher and would get a direct call--really silly, I know), but I've gone through some things recently that have changed me.
Note: My story involves babies, death, and problems associated with menstrual cycles and pregnancy, so if you don't want to read or aren't prepared to read something involving these topics, I understand.
Almost two months ago now my baby's heart stopped, and she was delivered still at 23 weeks. Three weeks before that, we knew there were problems and that a stillbirth was a likely outcome. Along with her health, the doctors were worried that I would get pre-eclampsia and went on to tell me all the possible warning signs to look out for. I didn't develop any of the telltale signs, but I did start having panic attacks. It was so bad that I frantically called the doctor (and was told it was all hormones) and practically forced my husband to come home from work one day and finish his work where I could see him.
Right after delivering, I was doing surprisingly well. I had almost no physical symptoms (just some afterbirth cramps and barely a week of bleeding), and I felt light and free. (Of course, I was and still am emotional.) I enjoyed exercising, cleaning the house, cooking, and just living life. No signs of that pesky postpartum depression everyone's so worried about. I had some anxiety about when my period would start since I heard that it could take months to get back to normal and be really heavy and painful. I also worried that I would get pregnant again before my body recovered and would never have a period in between. (I still worry about getting pregnant before I'm ready and just being pregnant again in general, but I'm a little more rational now that I have had that first period.)
Everything changed once that period came a couple weeks ago. Pain, hormones, depression, anxiety. I started letting everything go. I couldn't do simple things like fold the laundry or even get dressed. I have noticed a little bit of a pattern of highs and lows with my cycle before, but I didn't expect it to affect me so much. I also started having heart palpitations. I would be lying in bed almost asleep and wake up to that strange, heavy heartbeat and feeling like I was shaking. Then came the pain in my leg. I was exercising one day, and I got this strange feeling halfway between my ankle and knee on my left leg. Of course, I googled it and came up with shin splints or a stress fracture. I called the doctor, and she said hormones about the palpitations but didn't know about my leg.
The palpitations were caused by hormones because they went away when my period was over, but the leg pain/pressure/weird feeling stayed. I got so worked up about it that I called the doctor multiple times. So they scheduled me an appointment. I went in and the doctor said that it wasn't a blood clot. Blood clot! I didn't even know that was an option! Then he pronounced it the beginning of a shin splint. Even though shin splint was a more logical explanation, I became obsessed with having a blood clot. My calf started to twitch all the time, and my muscles felt tight.
A few nights ago when I couldn't get to sleep (combination of anxiety and a violent storm that started right when I decided to go to bed), I decided to google my pains+anxiety. Low and behold, I came up with several topics from this forum. I found other people with this strange pain and that I am most likely suffering from somatization disorder caused by my anxiety. Over the last few days, I've been trying not to obsess over my feelings and sorting out what is "real" and what is anxiety based (I have chronic neck/arm/upper back pain that I had surgery for almost two years ago), but I still worry about my tight and twitching calf muscle and think about pulmonary embolisms at least once a day.
So this is where I am today:
Trying to be calm about my anxiety based pains and acknowledging that, though they are real, they are not a sign of my imminent death.
Staying calm about my "real" pains and identifying where they come from.
Sorting out where I am headed in life. (I am married, we are in the process of buying a house and the deal may be falling apart soon, I am not currently working, I want children now but know that I can't handle pregnancy for at least a few more months, I don't feel like I have any friends...)
I know that was long, but thanks for reading and supporting me!